This is an edited rerun from 2009. As I perused old blog posts to generate ideas for this week, I found this unseen piece. Not only is Central Cemetery still one of my favorite places to walk, but a fictional version of the St. John plays an important role in the novel I am currently querying. The pictures are a more recent addition.
Today I toured the cemetery. Before you grimace and assume I
attended a funeral or was in the throws of a depression, let me explain
that the place is situated near the library where I park the car to take my daily constitutional. It has the
added advantage of sitting on a promontory overlooking Little Harbor, and its "residents" hold one of
the most expansive views in town. While lacing up my sneakers, I decided
today’s walk should include a detour there.
The area I
explored is one of our community's oldest resting places. Weathered
slate markers dating as far back as the 1700’s lean high above the granite ledges that seem to grow and shrink in the tidal flats pooling below.
Central Cemetery is carved out of grass tiers that step up from each
other. A stone Celtic cross towers at the top,
erected in memory of immigrants from the Irish brig St. John
that foundered on ledge while carrying these pilgrims to a better life.
Far below the cross, flattened
marsh hay etches the shoreline along with greening buds and tangled strands of sea heather. The
sun heated the small gravestones edging the beach this morning. Purple
crocuses bloomed in bunches below veterans flags that lifted up on a
hanging breeze. Today, the sea beyond the harbor slept steel flat and cold and
gusts blew damp, but a whisper of spring erased the sting. Pebbles from the stone
walk crunched as I wandered toward the road. On my way back to the
library I swung my arms and eyeballed the forsythia preparing to burst
in front of an antique cape along the way.
You may take issue
with me strolling among the peaceful dead but to tell the truth, I began my walk low key in mood. The hike among them though--well, more
than anything, it brought me back to life.